Evictions of Anglican priests begin in Zimbabwe
An Anglican priest in Zimbabwe and his family have been evicted from their home by priests loyal to excommunicated bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga. Others across the diocese have also been ordered to leave.
The Revd Dzikamai Mudenda at Mabvuku, his wife and their extended family, were forced to leave St James Mabvuku in Harare in the wake of a High Court judgement that Dr Kunonga had interim custody of church properties.
Other priests living in parish rectories have received stamped copies of the High Court judgment from supporters of Dr Kunonga who, in one case, were accompanied by the police. The priests, including Friar Joshua from Bishop Gaul College, have all been told to move out.
The Rt Revd Chad Gandiya, Bishop of Harare, said yesterday that alternative accommodation has been found for Revd Mudenda and they are preparing for the eviction of their other priests.
"Our parishes are busy finding alternative accommodation for them," he said. "We don't know who he is going to put in these houses. This is not going to be easy at all. It will disrupt their family life and ministry. I have been busy this evening getting in touch with my priests and encouraging them."
A recent judgment in Zimbabwe's High Court that upheld Bishop Chad appointment as Harare's bishop also gave Dr Kunonga custodianship of all church properties—ones that actually belong to the Church of the Province of Central Africa.
"Kunonga was given custodianship of CPCA properties when he no longer a member of our church and province and he is now evicting CPCA priests and we don't know who he is going to put in these houses. God help us."
The Anglican Church in Zimbabwe has been under attack from the excommunicated bishop, Dr Nolbert Kunonga, since 2007. Kunonga, with the support of police and henchmen, has seized CPCA church property and used violence and to break up church services. In a recent media interview Dr Kunonga was quoted as saying he aimed to control the 3,000 Anglican churches, schools, hospitals and other properties in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Malawi.
Note from the Anglican Church of Canada:
Canadian Anglican bishops have a special relationship with Bishop Gandiya. On two occasions he has attended the House of Bishops as a pastoral visitor on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and while at the meetings he shared extensively about the political situation in his country.
"Bishop Chad's visit to the House of Bishops enabled a number of them to form relationships with him and I know that he has appreciated the friendship and ongoing communication," said Archdeacon Paul Feheley, principal secretary to the Primate.
"The situation at the moment is very serious. It would mean a great deal to the bishop and people of Zimbabwe to know of the prayerful support of Canadian Anglicans. I would be pleased to forward emails of support."
Archdeacon Feheley can be reached by email or phone: (416) 924-9199 ext. 277